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Why rent a car in Rome?

There are few destinations in the world that can claim to be quite the treasure trove of historical and cultural relics as the majestic city of Rome. Those visiting the Eternal City will be amazed by the vast riches, from iconic sights such as the Sistine Chapel to hidden gems like the Keats-Shelley House, celebrating these poets and their love affairs with the Italian capital.

However, while you might shrink from the idea of driving around this notoriously traffic-bound city, if you don’t hire a car to explore the countryside, seaside and villages within easy reach of Rome, you’ll really be missing out.

How to get to and around Rome?

If you’re flying to Rome, you’ll most likely arrive at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), located approximately 20 miles west of the city centre. The airport provides easy access to the city’s major hotels and attractions via train, buses, taxis, or by hire car.

If you’re hiring a car from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, you’ll find a range of car rental services in arrivals, offering a range of top brands – including Avis, Firefly, Sixt, Hertz, and Locauto – providing both cheap hire cars and executive models.

What brands are available?

Car hire brands available in Rome include Avis, Europcar, Budget, Sixt and Hertz.

Must-sees within an easy drive of Rome

Rent a car in Rome for a day or two and you’ll be amazed what you can do and see – and you’ll get a flavour of the real Italy.

Number one on your list has to be the seaside town of Anzio, which boasts a gorgeous Blue Flag beach and a colourful history. The notorious Roman emperor Nero used to hold parties here (you can still see the ruins of his villa), and it was also the site of the Allied landing in 1944. One of the biggest draws, though, is the ferry to the gorgeous island paradise of Ponza, called by some Italy’s best-kept secret and a great alternative to pricier Capri. Driving time: 1 hour 20 minutes.

The well-preserved ruins of Ostia Antica, Rome’s ancient harbour, are also surprisingly close to the capital, and give you a real flavour of how ordinary ancient Romans lived and worked. Highlights include the theatre (still used for performances), the baths and mosaics, ancient apartment complexes and an old tavern. Driving time: less than an hour.

Tips and tricks for driving in Italy

Italian roads (and drivers) have a daunting reputation, but with a bit of preparation and knowledge, you’ll be fine. For example, it’s good to know before you set off that hire cars in Italy tend to be manual drive, and that it’s illegal to turn right on a red light. It’s also a legal requirement to carry a warning triangle and reflective jacket at all times, although these should be provided with your rental car.

Be aware too that Italy’s drink-driving limit is significantly lower than the UK’s at 0.5mg per litre of blood (as opposed to 0.8mg in the UK) - a small glass of wine - and for drivers with less than three years’ driving experience, it’s zero.

  • Divieto di sosta - No stopping
  • Divieto di parcheggio - No parking
  • Tariffa orario - Hourly charge
  • Senso unico - one-way
  • Zona traffico limitato - LImited Traffic Zone (Don’t drive in these marked zones during the indicated hours of operation - even if you see locals doing it - unless you’re prepared to pay a fine!)
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